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Birding on Dauphin Island

Historic Fort Gaines

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Sand Island Light

Shell Mounds

Town of Dauphin Island-Municipal Government

Dauphin Island, AL
Archive of Historical Data, Books, Maps
And Other Materials

Excerpt from the book
"Dauphin Island AL:
French Possession 1699-1763"

by Jo Myrtle Kennedy

"LeMoyne Brothers Land
In The French New World"

The Brothers LeMoyne

The Frenchman LaSalle had explored the Mississippi River Valley and claimed it for France, naming the territory Louisiana for King Louis XIV.

At that time, the British were extending their explorations and settlement south and west from the east coast of America. The "King William's War" between England and France lasted from 1689 to 1697, when terms of the peace treaty returned all conquered lands to the previous owner. Spain had already laid claim to Florida, and France renewed exploration of its new lands in America, which stretched from the gulf to Canada.
And so came the voyage of "Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville" (about 40 years old). "Iberville" had four ships in the expedition. On board were 200 settlers, including his 18-year-old brother "Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur d' Bienville".

The account of their explorations and settlement of the area continues: "After exploring the Riviere de la Mobile with the Maubilean indians, and choosing a site for a fort (Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff), Iberville returned to his ships anchored at Ship Island.

On February 27 they renewed their search for the mouth of the Mississippi River. Locating the "Great River", they explored it and two large lakes which they named Ponchartrain and Maurepas, in honor of the French Minister of Marine.

Finally selecting a site on the eastern side of Biloxi Bay, in May they began building a fort with four bastions, Fort Muarpeas, which was the first French settlement on the gulf coast. Iberville appointed Savolle as Governor of Louisiana and Commander of Ft.Maurepas at Biloxi, and sent the 18-year-old Bienville to etsbalish a fort at Natchez.

Hearing of the arrival of the expedition, Henri de Tonty, who had been with LaSalle in his expedition of the Mississippi River valley, came down from Canada to help at Biloxi.

Greatly encouraged, Iberville returned to France for more colonists and supplies.

When Iberville returned the next summer with hopeful settlers and another brother Serigny, he found illness, hunger and discouragement had ravaged the colony. "Summer fever" had killed many of them, including Savolle.

Seeing the urgent need to relocate the survivors, he sent for Bienville to come from Natchez and build a new fort at Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff on the Mobile River, named Fort Louis de la Mobile, after the Maubilian indians in the area.

The new capital needed additional protection at the mouth of Mobile Bay. Massacre Island was ideal as a port to receive ships for trade, settlers and naval surveillance, and it became a busy port during the removal of the capital from Biloxi to Mobile.

Fort Gaines Sand Island Light House Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island Dauphin Island History Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium

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